Afghanistan Crisis News Highlights: Afghan government formation by Taliban postponed; to be announced on September 4

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Updated: September 6, 2021 8:19:11 am

Afghanistan News Today, Taliban govt formation latest news: The formation of a new Afghan government by the Taliban has now been delayed by a day.

Taliban Live, Kabul Live, Afghanistan LiveTaliban supporters take photos with Taliban soldiers in Afghanistan capital Kabul. (Reuters photo)

Kabul Afghanistan Taliban Crisis News Today Highlights: The formation of a new Afghan government by the Taliban, which was to be announced on Friday, has now been delayed by a day, according to the spokesman of the insurgents Zabiullah Mujahid. Mujahid said the announcement about the formation of the new government will now be made on Saturday – September 4.

PTI reported sources as saying that that Chairman of Taliban’s Political Office, Doha, Qatar Mulla Abdul Ghani Baradar is likely to be the head of the Taliban Government. “Consultations are almost finalised on the new government, and the necessary discussions have also been held about the cabinet,” Mufti Inamullah Samangani, a senior official in the Taliban’s information and culture commission, said.

Over two weeks after the Taliban took over Afghanistan, the hardline Islamists are all set to announce the formation of a new government in Kabul on the lines of the Iranian leadership, with the group’s top religious leader Mullah Hebatullah Akhundzada as Afghanistan’s supreme authority, a senior member of the group has said.

There are several names doing the rounds but nothing has been confirmed by the Taliban. The factionalism between Akhundzada vs Haqqani vs Mullah Baradar is what many believe is delaying the critical announcement.

The Taliban have been desperately trying to shed their brutal image of 90s. But looks like that the global powers are in the ‘wait and watch mode’. The US, as well as the UK, have said that they are not in any hurry to recognise the Taliban government. India is also silent on this issue.

Stay with us as we bring you the latest from Afghanistan and other related news to Kabul evacuations.

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Highlights

    22:44 (IST)03 Sep 2021
    Afghanistan Crisis Live: Taliban co-founder Baradar to lead new Afghanistan govt

    Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar will lead a new Afghan government set to be announced soon, sources in the group said on Friday, as its fighters battled forces loyal to the vanquished republic in the Panjshir Valley north of Kabul. But the new government's most immediate priority may be to avert the collapse of an economy grappling with drought and the ravages of a 20-year conflict that killed around 240,000 Afghans before U.S. forces completed a tumultuous pullout on Aug. 30.

    At stake is whether the Taliban can govern a country facing economic meltdown, a humanitarian disaster and threats to security and stability from rival jihadist groups, including a local offshoot of Islamic State.

    Baradar, who heads the Taliban's political office, will be joined by Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob, the son of late Taliban co-founder Mullah Omar, and Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, in senior positions in the government, three sources said."All the top leaders have arrived in Kabul, where preparations are in final stages to announce the new government," a Taliban official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

    Haibatullah Akhundzada, the Taliban's supreme religious leader, will focus on religious matters and governance within the framework of Islam, another Taliban source said.The Taliban, which seized Kabul on Aug. 15 after sweeping across most of the country, have faced resistance in the Panjshir Valley, where there have been reports of heavy fighting  and casualties. (Reuters) 

    22:26 (IST)03 Sep 2021
    Afghanistan Crisis Live: EU says Taliban must respect rights, guarantee security as conditions for help

    The European Union is ready to engage with the new Taliban government in Kabul but the Islamist group must respect human rights, including those of women, and not let Afghanistan  become a base for terrorism, the EU foreign policy chief said on Friday. "In order to support the Afghan population, we will have to engage with the new government in Afghanistan," Josep Borrell said during a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Slovenia. He described an "operational engagement", which would not by itself constitute the formal recognition of the Taliban government, and would "increase depending on the behaviour of this government".

    Borrell said the new government must prevent the country from again becoming a breeding ground for militants as it was during the Taliban's previous time in power. It must respect human rights, the rule of law and freedom of the media, and should negotiate with other political forces on a transitional government. The Taliban have yet to name a government more than two weeks since they swept back into power.

    Their 1996-2001 rule was marked by violent punishments and a ban on schooling or work for women and girls, and many Afghans and foreign governments fear a return to such practices. The militants say they have changed but have yet to spell out the rules they will enforce.

    Borrell said the new government in Kabul must also grant free access to humanitarian aid, respecting EU procedures and conditions for delivery. "We will increase humanitarian aid, but we will judge them according to the access they provide," Borrell said. Aid agencies have said Afghanistan is facing a humanitarian catastrophe amid an economic crisis brought on by the conflict, a drought and the COVID-19 pandemic. About 18 million Afghans - roughly half the population - are already in need of humanitarian help, according to EU experts.  (Reuters) 

    22:09 (IST)03 Sep 2021
    Afghanistan Crisis Live: Qatar working to open humanitarian corridors to Afghanistan, official says

    Qatar is working to facilitate the opening of humanitarian corridors to get aid into Afghanistan, a Qatari foreign ministry official said on Friday.Qatar was engaging with the Taliban to ensure a peaceful transition of power to an inclusive and effective government, special envoy Mutlaq bin Majed Al Qahtani said in a statement.Al Qahtani arrived in Kabul on Friday to hold talks on forming an inclusive Afghan government and reopening of the Kabul airport, said a Qatari source familiar with the visit.

    The Gulf state has emerged as a key interlocutor with the Taliban, having hosted the militant group's political office since 2013. The Taliban negotiated the U.S. military withdrawal and separate talks with the Afghan government in Qatar. (Reuters) 

    21:21 (IST)03 Sep 2021
    UK pledges up to 30 million pounds as aid for Afghanistan neighbours

    The UK government said on Friday that it will be releasing up to 30 million pounds of life-saving aid to Afghanistan's neighbouring countries to help those who choose to leave the strife-torn country, as part of the efforts to support regional stability.

    The announcement came as UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab met his Pakistani counterpart, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, and other senior leaders on the Pakistan leg of his regional tour of South Asia to discuss the Afghan crisis following the Taliban takeover.

    The visit to Pakistan, the first for Raab as Foreign Secretary, is part of efforts to secure safe passage for Britons and others trying to leave Afghanistan. "We will be supporting those countries who face greatest demands from those who may be displaced in the weeks ahead," said Raab, addressing a joint press conference in Islamabad.  (PTI) 

    20:53 (IST)03 Sep 2021
    China eyes BRI extension to Afghanistan as it awaits Taliban to form govt

    China on Friday expressed hope to extend its multi-billion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) into Afghanistan, saying the "Taliban believes" that the initiative is good for development and prosperity in the war-ravaged country and the broader region.

    China in the recent past has outlined plans to extend its USD 60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) under its tripartite diplomatic initiative, incorporating the three countries.

    The plan has not made much headway due to political differences between the previous Ashraf Ghani-led government in Kabul and Pakistan over Islamabad's support to the Taliban militants.

    The BRI was launched by Chinese President Xi Jinping when he came to power in 2013. It aims to link Southeast Asia, Central Asia, the Gulf region, Africa and Europe with a network of land and sea routes. India has been severely critical of the BRI as the CPEC, which is a part of it, passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.  (PTI)

    20:24 (IST)03 Sep 2021
    Afghanistan Crisis Live: Afghan crisis likely on BRICS summit agenda, indicates China

    The crisis in Afghanistan in the aftermath of the Taliban toppling the US-backed government in Kabul is expected to be discussed during the BRICS summit scheduled this month, China indicated on Friday. The 13th BRICS summit will be held virtually under the chairmanship of India.

    "BRICS is an important platform for cooperation between emerging markets and developing countries. It is a positive stabilising constructive force in international affairs," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a media briefing here when asked whether the upcoming BRICS summit will discuss the situation in Afghanistan. 

    BRICS countries have a fine tradition of maintaining communication and coordination and making statements on issues on international and regional issues of common interests, and they will continue to do so, he said. The BRICS countries already had "communication and coordination" on the Afghan issue at the meeting of their National Security Advisors, Wang noted. Chaired by National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, top security officials of the BRICS nations on August 24 adopted an action plan to boost practical cooperation in combating terrorism and terror financing, in the backdrop of mounting concerns over the possibility of various terror groups stepping up activities from Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.

    The action plan was adopted at a virtual meeting hosted by India that also saw New Delhi raising the issue of cross-border terrorism and activities of groups such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed which enjoy "state support" and threaten peace and security. The BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa) brings together five of the largest developing countries of the world, representing 41 per cent of the global population, 24 per cent of the global GDP and 16 per cent of the global trade.

    India has been strongly pitching for deeper cooperation among the BRICS member countries in dealing with terrorism, extremism and radicalisation. China and Russia, which have established contacts with Taliban after it seized power in Afghanistan, kept their embassies opened in Kabul, along with Pakistan, while India, the US and other western countries have closed their diplomatic missions and evacuated the staff from the war-ravaged nation.  (PTI)

    19:57 (IST)03 Sep 2021
    Afghanistan Crisis Live: EU ministers outline conditions for relations with Taliban

    European Union officials on Friday listed a set of conditions for defining the EU's level of engagement with the Taliban as the new rulers of Afghanistan, including respect for human rights and the rule of law. Following the Afghan government's collapse last month, the 27-nation bloc and its member countries have evacuated their diplomats from Afghanistan. But EU officials have said they are willing to cooperate with the Taliban now that they have returned to power.

    The EU is focusing on delivering humanitarian aid, guaranteeing the safe passage out of the country of Afghan collaborators and employees who were left behind during the airlifts from Kabul, and trying to prevent a mass exodus of refugees that could prompt another migration crisis in Europe. 

    Following meetings with European foreign affairs ministers in Slovenia, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said that to gauge the Taliban's good will, the bloc would use several benchmarks. They include a guarantee that Afghanistan won't become a base for "the export of terrorism to other countries," a commitment to free access for humanitarian aid deliveries, and adhering to standards in the areas of human rights, rule of law and press freedom.

    "What is clear is that the future of Afghanistan remains a key issue for us," Borrell said. "It affects us, it affects the region, the international stability, and it has a direct impact for European security." "At the same time, the ministers strongly insisted on the idea that we remain committed to supporting the Afghan population," he said.

    Borrell stressed that the EU also wants to see an inclusive transition government formed in Afghanistan and the Taliban to honour their pledge to let foreigners and those who fear for their lives leave the country. "Our engagement will depend on the fulfilment of these conditions," Borrell said.

    The EU has suspended development assistance to the Afghan government but has pledged about 1.2 billion euros ($1.4 billion) for the country for 2021-2024. To ensure the evacuation of EU nationals and Afghan staff under the protection of member states and to assess how the Taliban respect the bloc's conditions, Borrell said that ministers agreed to establish a "joint European Union presence" in Kabul, if security conditions are met.

    Foreign affairs ministers also acknowledged the need to coordinate with Afghanistan's neighbours through an EU regional political platform of cooperation aimed at stabilising the whole region. "This political platform will consider, among other issues, the management of population flows from Afghanistan; the prevention of the spread of terrorism; the fight against organised crime, including drug trafficking and human being smuggling," Borrell said.

    Slovenian Foreign Minister Anze Logar, whose country currently holds the EU's rotating presidency, said such cooperation will try "to stop any future migration flows" to the bloc. (AP)

    19:10 (IST)03 Sep 2021
    Afghanistan Crisis Live: UK foreign secretary sees importance in engaging with Taliban

    UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab on Friday said it is important to engage with the Taliban government in Afghanistan for a range of reasons, including the safe passage of British citizens, but dismissed talks of recognising it officially as "premature". 

    Addressing a joint press conference in Islamabad alongside Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Raab, who is Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, said it would not have been possible to evacuate some 15,000 people from Kabul without some degree of cooperation from the Taliban. 

    "The approach we are taking is that we don't recognise the Taliban as a government [...] but we do see the importance of being able to engage and have a direct line of communication, the reason being that there is a whole range of issues that need to be discussed including the question of safe passage of British nationals and the Afghans who worked for the UK government," he said. 

    Though he hoped that the Taliban would bring stability and an end to violence in the country, Raab said it was "premature" to talk about recognising the Taliban at the moment. He noted that the Taliban had made a series of undertakings, "some of them are positive at the level of words" but there was a need to test whether they translated into deeds, which would not be possible if some channel of dialogue was not present.

    To a question on the expectations from the Taliban and the dangers of pushing them towards "radical tendencies", Raab said some early tests needed to be set on the Taliban promises and whether they had the sincerity and will to deliver on them. The Taliban seized control of Afghanistan's capital, Kabul, on August 15. The last of the foreign troops left the country on August 31, bringing an end to 20 years of war amid fears of an economic collapse and widespread hunger. 

    Following the chaotic departure, Western states have severely restricted their aid payments to Afghanistan. Raab thanked the Pakistani government for safely evacuating British citizens. He said that the UK will continue to provide aid on humanitarian grounds. "We will continue to help Afghanistan's neighbouring countries, including Pakistan. We want to see a prosperous Afghanistan," he said. The foreign secretary also said that the UK valued its historic relations with Pakistan. "We want to further strengthen our ties with Pakistan," he said.Qureshi was asked if Pakistan's relation with the Taliban will be condition-based. Qureshi said Pakistan had certain compulsions like geographical closeness, trade and daily commuting of 20,000- 25,000 people across the border, which makes the country's stance unique. "Some have the choice of getting up and leaving (Afghanistan) but we do not. We are neighbours; we have to coexist. Geography ties us together so our approach has to be somewhat different and realistic," he said.  (PTI)

    18:53 (IST)03 Sep 2021
    Afghanistan Crisis Live: NATO seeks more Afghan evacuations, vows to hold Taliban to promises

    NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Friday that the alliance would seek to evacuate more vulnerable Afghans and maintain contact with the Taliban, but that Afghanistan's new rulers would have to show themselves worthy of aid and recognition.NATO member Turkey, which had run Kabul airport for six years, has offered to help keep it operational now that U.S. and other NATO troops have left, and Qatar has offered to help.Stoltenberg said he had discussed the issue with Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and the Qatari foreign minister.He also said many Afghans who has cooperated with international forces and could therefore be at risk from the Taliban remained in Afghanistan."Operational contact with Taliban is necessary to get people out," he told Reuters in an interview. (Reuters)

    18:33 (IST)03 Sep 2021
    Afghanistan Crisis Live: Afghan government formation by Taliban postponed; to be announced on September 4; says its spokesperson

    The formation of a new Afghan government by the Taliban, which was to be announced on Friday, has now been delayed by a day, according to the spokesman of the insurgents Zabiullah Mujahid. Mujahid said the announcement about the formation of the new government will now be made on Saturday. Sources said that Chairman of Taliban's Political Office, Doha, Qatar Mulla Abdul Ghani Baradar is likely to be the head of the Taliban Government. More than two weeks after the Taliban took over Afghanistan, the hardline Islamists are all set to announce the formation of a new government in Kabul on the lines of the Iranian leadership, with the group's top religious leader Mullah Hebatullah Akhundzada as Afghanistan's supreme authority, a senior member of the group has said. (PTI)

    18:15 (IST)03 Sep 2021
    Afghanistan Crisis Live: EU says Taliban must respect rights, guarantee security as conditions for help

    The European Union is ready to engage with the new Taliban government in Kabul but the Islamist group must respect human rights, including those of women, and not allow Afghanistan to become a base for terrorism, the EU foreign policy chief said on Friday."In order to support the Afghan population, we will have to engage with the new government in Afghanistan," Josep Borrell said during a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Slovenia.However, the level of co-operation will depend on the Taliban's willingness to fulfil certain conditions, he said. (Reuters)

    18:03 (IST)03 Sep 2021
    Afghanistan Crisis Live: California families relay harrowing escape from Afghanistan

    When Yousef's wife and their four children boarded a July 15 flight in San Diego to attend her brother's wedding in Afghanistan, they were looking forward to a month of family gatherings. It was long overdue - the coronavirus pandemic prevented them from travelling earlier. Their return ticket was Aug. 15, two days before their children's school year began in the San Diego suburb of El Cajon. But the Afghan Americans found themselves dodging gunfire and trying to force their way into the crowds of thousands ringing the airport in Kabul after Afghanistan's government collapsed and the Taliban seized power. (Reuters)

    17:40 (IST)03 Sep 2021
    Afghanistan Crisis Live: Afghan Taliban victory brings new challenge: governing a country in crisis

    After a lightning military triumph and the departure of the last U.S. flight on Monday, the Taliban faces the challenge of forming a government that can unite different factions and rebuild Afghanistan after 40 years of war.The movement is expected to announce the makeup of its government https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/taliban-co-founder-baradar-lead-new-afghanistan-govt-sources-2021-09-03 in the next few days.At stake is its ability to govern a country facing deep economic crisis, a humanitarian disaster caused by drought and hunger and threats to security and stability from rival jihadist groups, including a local offshoot of Islamic State.Caught by surprise by the speed of the outgoing government's collapse, the Taliban were left scrambling to keep order in Kabul after President Ashraf Ghani fled and security forces melted away, and they have taken weeks to form a new administration. (Reuters)

    17:09 (IST)03 Sep 2021
    Afghanistan Crisis Live: Qatar foreign ministry official lands in Kabul, al-Jazeera says

    An official of Qatar's foreign ministry landed in Afghanistan on Friday, the Doha-based al-Jazeera channel reported, as the Gulf state stepped up efforts to reopen Kabul International airport.Qatar, working with Turkey, has sent two other planes carrying technical teams to assess damage in the airport. (Reuters) 

    16:42 (IST)03 Sep 2021
    Afghanistan Crisis Live: Moscow in contact with potential Taliban members of Afghan govt

    Russia is in contact with potential Taliban members of Afghanistan's government, the RIA news agency cited Russia's ambassador to Kabul as saying on Friday.Sources in the Islamist group said earlier that Taliban co-founder Mullah Baradar would lead a new Afghan government set to be announced shortly.The Russian ambassador also said Moscow did not plan to supply weapons to the new authorities in Afghanistan, RIA reported. (Reuters)

    16:07 (IST)03 Sep 2021
    Afghanistan Crisis Live: China is our most important partner, says Taliban

    Describing China as its "most important partner", the Afghan Taliban has said it looks to Beijing to rebuild Afghanistan and exploit its rich copper deposits as the war-ravaged country faces widespread hunger and fears of an economic collapse. Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said the group supports China's One Belt, One Road initiative that seeks to link China with Africa, Asia and Europe through an enormous network of ports, railways, roads and industrial parks. "China is our most important partner and represents a fundamental and extraordinary opportunity for us because it is ready to invest and rebuild our country," Geo News quoted Mujahid as saying in an interview to an Italian newspaper on Thursday. There are "rich copper mines in the country, which, thanks to the Chinese, can be put back into operation and modernised. In addition, China is our pass to markets all over the world," said Mujahid. - PTI

    15:51 (IST)03 Sep 2021
    Afghanistan Crisis Live: What's latest from Kabul

    Amid frantic speculations over the Taliban govt announcement, the scenes are rapidly changing in Kabul. After Herat, a group of women activists defied Taliban diktat and help protest in the Afghan capital. Meanwhile, some reports also suggest that an Imam of a mosque in Kabul has announced that anybody caught stealing will face a brutal punishment as per the Sharia. The Imam reportedly said that hands of the thieves will be cutoff.

    15:18 (IST)03 Sep 2021
    Afghanistan Crisis Live: Putin says we need to discuss 'legalising' political force in Afghanistan

    President Vladimir Putin said on Friday that there would be no political force to talk to directly if Afghanistan breaks up as a country and called for joint efforts to decide about "legalising" a political force there.Putin made the comment at a forum in Vladivostok where he was asked if Moscow would recognise the Taliban government. The Taliban is formally recognised as a terrorist group in Russia. - Reuters 

    14:56 (IST)03 Sep 2021
    Afghanistan Crisis Live: Poland to host some 500 Afghans temporarily

    A government official says that Poland will temporarily host some 500 Afghan evacuees who had worked for NATO in Afghanistan. Michal Dworczyk said Friday that the Afghans will remain in Poland for up to three months before moving on to other countries. Depending on their choice, up to 50 persons will be able to settle in Poland. However, Poland has not been a popular destination in Europe for migrants. Dworczyk, a top aide to Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, said on Radio RMF FM that the first group of some 250 persons would arrive Friday from the NATO air base in Ramstein, Germany. Separately, Poland has evacuated some 1,300 people from Kabul, mostly Afghanis, who had worked with Poland's military and diplomatic mission, and their families and said it is taking responsibility for them. (AP) 

    13:54 (IST)03 Sep 2021
    Afghanistan Crisis Live: Taliban say Western Union to resume operations

    The Taliban say Western Union will resume its operations in Afghanistan, opening a rare conduit for foreign funds to flow into the cash-strapped country. The group's 's cultural commission spokesman, Ahmadullah Muttaqi, announced the move Friday. The American financial services giant had halted operations in Afghanistan when the Taliban took power in the capital on Aug. 15. The opening will be especially welcomed by Afghans with foreign relatives abroad. Hundreds of people have been lining up daily outside Afghan banks to withdraw cash. Withdrawals have been limited to $200 per day and cash machines aren't working. The overcrowding means that not everyone manages to obtain money on a given day. (AP)

    13:28 (IST)03 Sep 2021
    Afghanistan Crisis Live: What will Akhunzada do?

    Haibatullah Akhunzada, the Taliban's surpreme religious leader, will focus on religious matters and governance within the framework of Islam, another Taliban source said. - Reuters 

    12:33 (IST)03 Sep 2021
    Afghanistan Crisis Live: Taliban co-founder Baradar to lead new Afghanistan govt - sources

    Taliban co-founder Mullah Baradar will lead a new Afghan government that could be announced soon, sources in the Islamist group said on Friday, as it battled rebel fighters while striving to ward off economic collapse.Baradar, who heads the Taliban's political office, will be joined by Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob, the son of late Taliban founder Mullah Omar, and Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai, in senior positions in the government, three sources said."All the top leaders have arrived in Kabul, where preparations are in final stages to announce the new government," one Taliban official told Reuters, on condition of anonymity. – Reuters

    12:30 (IST)03 Sep 2021
    Afghanistan Crisis Live: Taliban now starts talking about Kashmir

    Suhail Shaheen, Taliban spokesperson based out of Doha, has recently given a statement that will not go down well for officials in New Delhi. In a recent interaction with media, Shaheen explicitly took Kashmir’s name and said that the Taliban has full right to raise the voice for Muslims across the world. 

    11:32 (IST)03 Sep 2021
    Afghanistan Crisis Live: Evacuated Afghans, hoping to resettle in U.S., face extended limbo in third countries

    In mid-August, Ahmad got an urgent call from his nephew, Zia, telling him to come immediately to Kabul airport to try to get on an evacuation flight.Members of the Taliban had been to Ahmad's house in the capital looking for Zia, who had worked with the U.S. military in Afghanistan. They also wanted Ahmad, who was not at home at the time, to report to the police station, Zia told him.Ahmad, 43, worried he would be arrested or executed because of his nephew's involvement with the U.S. military, which flew out its last remaining troops this week in a chaotic withdrawal, formally ending a 20-year war.Ahmad went to the airport with his wife and six children but got separated from them in the crowds at the entrance gates, he said. He showed officials a photo of his nephew's green card on his phone and told them he was a member of his family. That was enough to get him - alone - on a plane to the U.S.-allied Gulf Arab state of Qatar, he said.Following the scramble to evacuate vulnerable Afghans, thousands of people, some with no documentation or pending U.S. visa applications, others in families with mixed immigration statuses, are now waiting in "transit hubs" in third countries. – Reuters

    11:31 (IST)03 Sep 2021
    Afghanistan Crisis Live: Germany sets conditions for Kabul presence, France questions Taliban intent

    Germany is ready to resume a diplomatic presence in Kabul if the Taliban meet certain conditions, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Thursday, but his French counterpart said he had yet to see positive signals that the group had changed."We want to see an inclusive government (in Kabul), the respect for fundamental human and women's rights - and Afghanistan must not again become a breeding ground for international terrorism," Maas told reporters in Slovenia, where he met his EU counterparts to discuss Afghanistan following the end of the international mission there and the Taliban's takeover of power."If these requirements are met, and the security situation allows for it, we are ready to resume a diplomatic presence in Kabul," he said.Unlike Russia and China, the EU and most Western countries have closed their embassies in Kabul, reducing their opportunities to directly influence any new government.France's Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told Le Figaro newspaper that Paris would judge the Taliban on whether it allowed people to leave the country, enabled access of humanitarian aid, made a complete break with all terrorist organisations and respected human rights, especially for women. – Reuters

    11:27 (IST)03 Sep 2021
    Afghanistan Crisis Live: At an Afghanistan border crossing, people face uncertainty and a long wait

    Pakistani Shafiq Mohammad, 40, stands at a closed pedestrian crossing gate on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, holding a passport and a stack of identity cards and imploring Pakistani officials to let him and his family through.The crossing at Torkham, now manned on the Afghan side by armed Taliban soldiers, has long been the busiest between the two countries, but since last month has seen a sharp dip in pedestrian crossings as tight controls have been imposed."I don't know (why they're not letting us in), we're also standing here asking why you do not let us... what is the procedure, how can we proceed," Mohammad says through a metal-barred gate from the Afghan side of the border.With air traffic suspended, Torkham is one of the few gateways out of Afghanistan. But worsening security has prompted authorities to clamp down on border movement, with an average of just 85 daily crossings in August at Torkham, against 7,000-8,000 in March and April.Pakistani authorities said a fresh wave of COVID-19 infections has also led them to exercise tighter scrutiny.Commercial traffic has kept up, with a steady stream of trucks passing through. But crowds have been pushed back from the border area by Taliban fighters and kept on the Afghan side on the Jalalabad-Peshawar highway. – Reuters

    11:21 (IST)03 Sep 2021
    Afghanistan Crisis Live:Rebels hold out in Afghan valley as Taliban set up government in Kabul

    Taliban forces and fighters loyal to local leader Ahmad Massoud battled in Afghanistan's Panjshir Valley, more than two weeks after the Islamist militia seized power, as Taliban leaders in the capital, Kabul, worked to form a government.Panjshir is the last province resisting rule by the Taliban, who retook control of the country as U.S. and foreign troops withdrew after 20 years of conflict following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.Each side said it had inflicted heavy casualties."We started operations after negotiation with the local armed group failed," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said.Taliban fighters had entered Panjshir and taken control of some territory, he said. "They (the enemy) suffered heavy losses."A spokesman for the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan (NRFA) rebel grouping said it had full control of all passes and entrances and had driven back efforts to take Shotul district. - Reuters 

    11:09 (IST)03 Sep 2021
    Afghanistan Crisis Live: UK will pay to shelter refugees in countries neighbouring Afghanistan

    Britain said on Friday it would release 30 million pounds ($41 million) of aid to support nations neighbouring Afghanistan dealing with refugees fleeing the country since the Taliban took control.The British government said 10 million pounds would immediately be made available to the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR and other humanitarian groups to help with shelters and sanitation facilities at the borders.The remainder will go to nations that experienced a significant number of refugees to provide essential services and supplies, it said."It is vital that we help those fleeing Afghanistan and do not allow the crisis there to undermine regional stability," British foreign minister Dominic Raab said.The UNHCR has said up to half a million Afghans could flee their homeland by the end of the year. Many fleeing the country are believed to be heading to Pakistan, while another of Afghanistan's neighbours Tajikistan has pledged to accept 100,000 refugees.Britain itself has said it would take some 20,000 Afghan refugees with 5,000 expected to arrive in the first year.Earlier this month, Britain announced it would double its humanitarian and development aid to Afghanistan to 286 million pounds this year, and Raab said on a visit to Qatar on Thursday there was a need to engage with the Taliban. – Reuters

    10:38 (IST)03 Sep 2021
    Afghanistan Crisis Live: U.S. has no plans to release billions in Afghan assets, Treasury says

    The Biden administration has no plans to release billions in Afghan gold, investments and foreign currency reserves parked in the United States that it froze after the Taliban's takeover, despite pressure from humanitarian groups and others who say the cost may be the collapse of Afghanistan's economy.Much of the Afghan central bank's $10 billion in assets are parked overseas, where they are considered a key instrument for the West to pressure the Taliban https://www.reuters.com/world/what-leverage-do-us-allies-have-over-taliban-afghanistan-2021-09-02 to respect women's rights and the rule of law.Any unfreezing of these assets may be months away, financial experts said.Officials from the U.S. State Department, U.S. Treasury, White House National Security Council and other agencies have been in regular discussions about Afghanistan's finances since the Taliban took over in mid-August, ahead of what the United Nations and others see as a looming humanitarian crisis. – Reuters

    10:34 (IST)03 Sep 2021
    Afghanistan Crisis Live: UN says air service operating in Afghanistan

    The United Nations says its Humanitarian Air Service is resuming air operations in Afghanistan to enable 160 aid organisations to continue activities in the country's provinces. U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Thursday that the air passenger service, operated by the Rome-based U.N. World Food Program, is linking the Pakistani capital of Islamabad with Mazar-i-Sharif in the north and Kandahar in the southeast. He said the food programme reports that three flights already have taken place to Mazar-i-Sharif since Sunday and that efforts are being made to step up those operations as soon as possible. In addition, Dujarric said, a cargo airbridge is being established to transport non-food items such as medical and other emergency supplies to where they are needed the most. - PTI

    10:00 (IST)03 Sep 2021
    Afghanistan Crisis Live: Turkey 'evaluating' Kabul airport reopening

    Turkey's foreign minister says his country is evaluating plans to reopen Kabul's airport. Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters on Thursday in Ankara that Hamid Karzai International Airport could be reopened in two stages for military flights and later for commercial flights. ‘Now there are requests from the Taliban and some countries to cooperate with us. We're evaluating all of this,’ Cavusoglu said at the news conference with Dutch Foreign Minister Sigrid Kaag. Turkey has been operating the airport for six years before the American pullout and the Taliban's resurgence. Those leaders, along with Qatar's, have been in discussions about the reopening. Kaag said the Netherlands wanted to help with technical matters or security at the airport. - AP

    09:52 (IST)03 Sep 2021
    Afghanistan Crisis Live: PM says Italy searching for Afghan refugees

    Italian Premier Mario Draghi says diplomats are trying to locate Afghans who fled from their homeland to Iran and other nations bordering Afghanistan. Draghi said that ‘fortunately’ many Afghans had escaped, but his country wants to locate those who worked with Italy. Before Italy ended its airlift from Kabul on Aug. 27, it had evacuated nearly 5,000 Afghans who had worked with the Italian military during its 20-year-deployment in Afghanistan as well as their families and others deemed at risk now under Taliban rule. Draghi didn't say how many Afghans his country was seeking. He added that Afghans who have already reached Italy are immediately being given refugee status and praised Italian communities integrating them into local society. - AP

    09:38 (IST)03 Sep 2021
    Afghanistan Crisis Live: Fearing persecution, Afghan Hazara Shia Muslim families find refuge in Pakistan's Quetta

    Among the thousands of Afghans, who have fled their country after the Taliban take over and entered Pakistan, are many ethnic Hazara Shia Muslim families that have reached Quetta's Hazara town and are recounting horrifying stories of their escape and survival. One such Afghan Hazara family, including husband, wife and their three daughters, managed to reach the town after shelling out thousands of rupees to human smugglers to take them into Pakistan's Balochistan province through the Spin Boldak and Chaman border route. Narrating his family's ordeal over phone, Dr Khalid Hazara said that while he was a government doctor, his wife Latifa was also a government employee in Kabul. - PTI

    09:25 (IST)03 Sep 2021
    Afghanistan Crisis Live: US defends strike that Afghan family says killed innocents

    It felt like hell itself had opened up, said Ramal Ahmadi, who was watching cartoons with his nephew when a US drone slammed into his family's courtyard where just moments before there had been a noisy celebration to greet the family's oldest brother. The last thing Ahmadi remembers was the sound of his brother's car horn announcing his arrival and the squealing of the children. He says his mind ‘is not right’ since that day. Sunday's US drone strike killed 10 members of his family, six of them children, Ahmadi said. Senior US military officials said the drone strike hit an Islamic State target and weakened the extremist' ability to further disrupt the final phase of the US withdrawal and evacuation of thousands of people from Afghanistan. Three days before the drone strike, an IS suicide bomber had attacked a crowded gate at Kabul airport, killing 13 US service members and 169 Afghans. Army General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Wednesday that at least one of those killed in the drone strike was an Islamic State ‘facilitator.’ - AP

    09:24 (IST)03 Sep 2021
    Afghanistan Crisis Live: FS Shringla meets US Secretary of State, discusses bilateral ties and Afghanistan

    Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla called on United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken here on Thursday during which they discussed bilateral ties, regional and global issues including the current situation in Afghanistan. This was the first high-level discussion between the officials of the two countries after the American withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan on August 31. ‘Discussions touched on bilateral ties and the situation in Afghanistan,’ Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said in a tweet after the meeting. Shringla, who arrived here a day earlier from New York, had a series of meetings throughout Thursday, including with his American counterpart Deputy Secretary Wendy Sherman. - PTI

    09:17 (IST)03 Sep 2021
    Afghanistan Crisis Live: No evidence to verify whether Pakistan brought in fighters to support Taliban in Afghanistan: Pentagon

    The Pentagon has said it has seen no evidence to corroborate reports that there were Pakistan nationals along with the Taliban fighters in Afghanistan. ‘I have not seen anything to corroborate that report,’ Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby told reporters at a news conference on Thursday when asked about the reported allegations by former Afghanistan president Ashraf Ghani that Pakistan had sent between 10,000 to 15,000 of its men along with the Taliban to capture Kabul and Afghanistan. ‘As we said before, Pakistan has a shared interest in the safe havens that exist along that border, and they, too, have become -- and have been victims of terrorist activity," Kirby said. "And I mean, I think that's something that we all share in common here is helping each other and not become victims to those kinds of attacks from that part of the world,’ he added. - PTI

    09:17 (IST)03 Sep 2021
    Afghanistan Crisis Live: World united in what they expect Taliban to do for recognition in Afghanistan: White House

    The world is united in what they expect the Taliban to do to get recognition in Afghanistan from the international community, the White House said noting that it is for China to decide where it would like to stand on the situation. ‘The world is united in what they expect the Taliban to do, which is allow people who want to depart the country to depart. And China has to decide where they are in that effort,’ White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters at her daily news conference on Thursday. United States President Joe Biden, she said, has said many times that there are a few countries that wanted the US to stay in Afghanistan more than China and Russia because it would have tied up American owned resources, the US military and its financial assets and options. - PTI

    09:11 (IST)03 Sep 2021
    Afghanistan Crisis Live: Bidens visit wounded troops at Walter Reed

    President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden visited injured US troops at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Thursday night. There are 15 Marines at the hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, just outside Washington, who were wounded in an Aug. 26 suicide bombing at the Kabul airport. The attack occurred as the U.S. government was arranging evacuations of Americans, Afghans and allies before the nearly two-decade war in Afghanistan officially ended Aug. 31. Eleven Marines were also killed in the attack, as well as one Army solider and one Navy corpsman. Biden traveled to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware on Sunday to witness the return of their remains to U.S. soil in a solemn ‘dignified transfer.’ - AP

    09:08 (IST)03 Sep 2021
    Afghanistan Crisis Live: Pakistan urges international effort to help Afghanistan

    Pakistan is urging the international community to adopt a three-pronged approach to Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover: quickly deliver aid to 14 million people facing a hunger crisis, promote an inclusive government, and work with the Taliban to attack all terrorist groups in the country. Pakistan's ambassador to the United Nations, Munir Akram, laid out his government's vision for a future international role in Afghanistan in an Associated Press interview on Thursday, saying Pakistan has been in contact with regional countries and the broader global community on working together on the three priorities. - AP

    09:01 (IST)03 Sep 2021
    Afghanistan Crisis Live: Welcome to day 2 of our ongoing coverage on Kabul crisis

    Good Morning and welcome to our continuing coverage of the Kabul crisis. As the battle intensifies in Panjashir Valley, the focus remains on political activities in the Afghan capital. Even as the exodus continues from the strife-torn nation, the Taliban is trying to transform itself into a governance body. 

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